Foundation calls court to finally confirm sentences for 1999 Curuvija killing

Slavko Ćuruvija

The Slavko Curuvija Foundation on Monday called the Appeals Court to confirm the sentences handed down for the killing of the newspaper publisher in 1999.

Curuvija was gunned down in front of his central Belgrade apartment building in April 1999 during the NATO air campaign. The assassination came after he was fiercely criticized and targeted as a traitor by pro-regime media.

A Foundation statement said that “the very foundations of rule of law in Serbia have been undermined” because the people responsible still haven’t started serving their sentences. It recalled that the sentences against the four former Serbian State Security (RDB) officers who were indicted for the killing have not been confirmed. The Special Court Section for Organized Crime sentenced former RDB chief Radomir Markovic and the head of the RBD Belgrade Center Milan Radonjic to 30 years each in a retrial. It also sentenced RDB officers Ratko Romic and Miroslav Kurak to 20 years each in absentia.

“Any further delay will have devastating consequences on freedom of expression and is a clear message to all journalists who are facing attacks and pressure today that they can’t expect adequate protection from the judiciary. The speedy and just end to the Curuvija case is of crucial importance not only to Slavko Curuvija’s family and the country’s media community but also to society as a whole and all the citizens of Serbia,” it said.

The heads of Serbia’s two main journalists organizations laid wreaths at the site of the Curuvija killing on Monday. Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) President Zeljko Bodrozic called the judiciary to complete the legal proceedings while Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) President Zivojin Rakocevic said he expects an explanation for everyone seeking justice in the case.